Mining for Stories in Marmora

Sociolinguistic Research in Marmora and Area

May 22-29, 2019

Professor Sali A. Tagliamonte, PhD FRSC Canada Research Chair in Language Variation and Change University of Toronto

Professor Sali A. Tagliamonte, PhD FRSC
Canada Research Chair in Language Variation and Change
University of Toronto


The project is called “Mining for Stories in Marmora”, a collaboration between local residents and Professor Tagliamonte of the University of Toronto. Professor Tagliamonte will be visiting the Marmora area with small team of research assistants. The purpose is to document local stories of Marmora and area. The Marmora project is a subsidiary project of Professor Tagliamonte’s larger research project on Ontario Dialects and will collaborate with the Marmora Bicentennial Project.

Professor Tagliamonte’s research is anthropological in orientation. The team will conduct oral histories with people in the Marmora, documenting their experience, their life stories and exchanging ideas. The aim of the project is to record members of the local population, hoping to capture aspects of experience in the community through story-telling.


Professor Tagliamonte will be visiting the Marmora area from Wednesday, May 22-29, 2019.


Professor Tagliamonte and her team are looking to conduct oral histories with people born and raised in Marmora and surrounding areas. The conversations could be conducted at the Caressant Care Centre, at the person’s home or anywhere convenient to those interested. To book your interview Caressant Centre or request an interview in your home, please see the contact details below and/or come out to May Madness!


Language reflects the community in which it is spoken. The history, culture and social life of a community shines through in the way people pronounce words, express themselves and talk to each other. For example, when you say “Marmora” do you say Mar-MORA-a or do you say MARmora?

Did you ever work in the mines? What was it like? When you go fishing on the lakes what do you catch, “walleye”, “pickerel” or “yellow perch”? When you greet someone on the street, do you say “good day” or “how’re you doing” or something else? Are there different words used in the mines compared to the farms? Is there a Marmora way of speaking? Let’s find out.


We sit down with people and talk about their life, your early memories, what it was like growing up in the area, things your remember about mining, fishing, farming or whatever else. We’ll ask you about your family background and general experiences about things that have happened to you in your life. We record these conversations with high quality digital audio recorders and high quality microphones.

Everybody tends to have a great time telling stories. It's fun to remember old times and fun times, to remember things that you’ve done and talk about them and remark on how things are changing.

Everybody who participates in the project will be given further information about the project and will sign consent forms and retain a copy. If anyone wants a copy of their oral history, we will provide them with a digital copy.

Professor Tagliamonte is also available to give presentations about language in contemporary English, Ontario dialects and other aspects of the study of history and culture as it is reflected in language. She would be happy to return to give a talk to any school or organization about her research if invited. A typical presentation focusses on the value of stories for history, culture and community.

Who is Sali?

Sali A. Tagliamonte is a Canadian with deep roots in rural Ontario. Her maternal grandparents were Wilson and Harriet Lawson of Swords, Ontario. Her paternal grandparents were Peter and Mary Tagliamonti, of Boston Creek, Ontario. Both set of grandparents owned and operated the local country stores of their community. Professor Tagliamonte grew up listening in fascination to the stories people told when they came into the store. She wrote and published poetry as a teenager but when she went to University in Toronto in the late 1970's she discovered the amazing world of language science. She went to graduate school in Ottawa in the 1980's where she worked on the varieties of English spoken in the Caribbean and Eastern Canada. She spent her early academic career in England at the University of York, working on dialects from the far north shore of Scotland to Devon in the southwest. Since 2001 she has been working at the University of Toronto in Canada and working on Ontario Dialects. She lives in Toronto on an oak ravine with her husband and changing combinations of their five children aged 15-35.

Professor Tagliamonte is author of Variationist Sociolinguistics” Wiley-Blackwell 2012), Roots of English (CUP 2013), Making Waves (Wiley-Blackwell 2016) and Analysing Sociolinguistic Variation (CUP 2006). Her recent book, Teen Talk (CUP 2016), documents her research on youth language. The main focus of all her research is to document the amazing world of dialects in communities.